Andi Schwartz (no relation) wrote a piece for Xtra about the many troubles gay and lesbian soldiers face in the Canadian Forces. It was given cover-story treatment in the 2012.02.23 issue. And, in essence, the story is factually wrong based on the reports of its own sources. Worse, Schwartz didn’t even bother asking the Department of National Defence for a comment.

As such, I nominated “Gay in the Army” as the least ethical article of the year as published in the gay press. I did that nominating in a letter to the editors of Xtra – that really means the troublesome and dismissive Matt Mills – that the paper curiously cannot find room to publish even while copying and pasting blog comments into the printed newspaper. (I couldn’t find a way to contact Schwartz. I did find her on Twitter, which doesn’t count. Neither she nor Mills responded.)

I wrote:

If I understand Andi Schwartz correctly (and if I refer to the subhead of her article, which an editor probably wrote), the “Canadian military is still not a friendly space for gays and lesbians.” This is said to be true despite the fact that Schwartz could find only one documented case of homophobic mistreatment, which she admits was in fact addressed by the Department of National Defence. That incident is mysteriously entwined with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the United States, despite the fact we live in a different country.

Then we have a quote from a soldier who began his service 18 years ago and hasn’t been in the army for a decade, yet admits things must have improved anyway. Schwartz follows it up with expert assessment that admitting open gays wouldn’t harm the army, including an equivalent assessment from Gary Kinsman, who, as if out of a playbook, decries the military for being “masculinist.” I assume Kinsman also decries synchronized swimming for being wet.

Then we have another gay servicemember openly stating that the military has its own complaint procedures in place, to which complainants don’t even necessarily have to resort (“the issue can sometimes be resolved between colleagues”).

Schwartz sums up the abuse gays face in the military, despite an almost complete lack of evidence proving the premise of the article, by quoting Kinsman saying what he’s probably said every time he’s been asked a similar question over the last two decades: “It’s the tip of the iceberg!” Schwartz’s own facts show otherwise.

What we have, then, is a cover story with so little factual basis as to be indistinguishable from no factual basis at all. The story was wrapped up in a hyperbolic headline like a pretty pink bow. Bad enough. But I fact-checked Schwartz’s ass. I confirmed with DND – twice! – that Andi Schwartz never once asked Defence for a statement on the topic. Schwartz failed to give one side a chance to comment, in one fell swoop branding her article as the year’s most unethical piece of gay journalism.

Eventually, gay activists are going to have to accept that some gay men want to join the army and that they can and do thrive there. Yet to accept that fact would, at the very least, also involve accepting that masculine gay men really exist and very much like the idea of a tough male environment where – again – they can thrive. The message of the gay press is that masculinity is valuable only inasmuch as FTMs claim to have it and hurts everyone else.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2012.04.19 14:52. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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